Advisor Profiles

Rui Costa, D.V.M, Ph.D.

Columbia University

Dr. Rui Costa received his D.V.M. from the University of Lisbon in 1996. He entered the GABBA graduate program from University of Porto in 1997, and performed his Ph.D. studies with Dr. Alcino Silva at UCLA from 1998 to 2002 followed by postdoctoral work with Dr. Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University. Dr. Costa became a Section Chief at the National Institutes of Health in 2006, and in 2009 became an Investigator of the Champalimaud Neuroscience Program. In 2010 he received an European Research Council Starting Grant, and the Seeds of Science Prize for Life Sciences. In 2012 he became an International Early Career Scientist of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and received the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Neuroscience. In 2014, he was elected a member of EMBO, received the Silver Medal for distinct services from the Ministry of Health, Portugal, and was knighted Commander of the Order of Sant'Iagoda Espada from the President of Portugal. In 2014, he was also awarded a Consolidator ERC grant, and the Young Investigator Career Award from the Jean-Louis Jeantet Foundation. He served as Deputy Director of the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme from 2011 to 2013, and as Director of Champalimaud Research from 2014 to 2017. He is the President of the American-Portuguese Biomedical Research Fund. He became a Professor at Columbia University in 2016. In 2017 he received the AriënsKappers Medal from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a U19 Brain Initiative Award (15.3M for 5 years). In 2017, he became the Associate Director/CEO of the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, and in 2019 he became Director and CEO. Dr. Costa studies the neurobiology of action in health and disease. He was elected member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2019. His laboratory uses genetic, electrophysiological, optical, and behavioral approaches to investigate the mechanisms underlying action initiation and action learning.  His laboratory found that basal ganglia direct and indirect pathways are concurrently active during movement initiation, challenging the classical Go/NoGo model. He also uncovered that a subpopulation of dopaminergic neurons is active before movement initiation, andmodulates the probability and the vigor of future movements. These discoveries generated new hypothesis for the mechanisms underlying movement generation, and motor dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease.